West Palm Beach, Fla. (Dec. 16, 2022) – Palm Beach County job seekers have much to be merry about this holiday season, according to the latest monthly reports released today by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (all numbers not seasonally adjusted):
- Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for November 2022 announced today is 2.6 percent, below the year-ago rate of 3.1 percent. The county’s rate remains below the 3.4 percent national rate and matches Florida’s 2.6 percent rate. The county’s rate has remained below the nation’s for more than two years.
- The county’s unemployment rate has stayed at or below 3.0 percent for 11 consecutive months.
- For more than a year, there are more job openings than unemployed people in Palm Beach County. There are 34,252 job openings vs. 19,909 unemployed people in November. Total employment has exceeded the pre-Covid peak every month since Feb. 2022.
- Total nonagricultural employment in the county is 682,400 adding 27,600 jobs over the year – a 4.2 percent gain.
Palm Beach County’s record low unemployment rate of 2.3 percent occurred in April 2022. Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate reached 14.7 percent in April 2020.
“Job seekers have much to celebrate this season – 2022 set a record low unemployment rate and it remained at historic lows throughout the year. There has never been a better time in the county’s history to find a job,” said Julia Dattolo, President and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.
Job growth/loss by industry sector: For more than a year, the leisure/hospitality industry sector has led the county in over-the-year job growth – adding 13,100 jobs for a 15.0 percent jump. Leisure/hospitality also had the fastest annual job growth rate in the state. Jobs in two industry sectors – leisure/hospitality, and government -- grew faster in the county than statewide over the year.
By the numbers, there were over-the-year job gains in every sector in Palm Beach County:
Industry Change Total jobs
Leisure/hospitality +13,100 jobs 100,300
Education/health services +5,800 jobs 110,800
Trade/transportation/utilities +4,000 jobs 126,000
Other services +2,600 jobs 34,400
Manufacturing +1,000 jobs 21,900
Government +800 jobs 64,700
Construction +500 jobs 40,100
Information +200 jobs 10,700
Professional/business services -100 jobs 126,100
Financial activities -300 jobs 47,200
Trends Observed This Period
- Continued strong job market and wage growth
- Continued strong consumer demand
- Inflation cooling a bit; gas prices down
- Strong tourism season in Palm Beach County
- High costs of housing, food
- Higher interest rates may weaken worker leverage in job market, lead to layoffs
Employment Outlook for 2023
Palm Beach County will continue to trend better than state, nation: Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate has remained below the nation for more than two years and has been below or matched the state rate for eight months in 2022. We expect continued strong local job growth with the most in-demand jobs in the hospitality/tourism, healthcare, and trades/transportation industry sectors.
More diversified economy: A recent study by Lightcast ranked Palm Beach County as having the fourth most diverse industry mix in Florida with a 95.4 percent diversity rate. A report by the Business Development Board shows Palm Beach County is home to:
- 463 corporate, subsidiary & regional offices
- 2,897 financial services and hedge funds
- 1,628 aviation / aerospace / engineering companies
- 2,189 infotech companies
- 5,496 healthcare companies
- 682 distribution & logistics centers
- 1,424 manufacturing companies
Local and national conditions will continue to impact the job market:
- Mass exodus of baby boomers: Labor force participation for people over 55 remains well below pre-pandemic levels. According to the Pew Research Center, some 2 million baby boomers retire each year. In 2020, this number appears to have grown to a historic high: over 3 million decided to end their careers. Their accelerated departure from the labor force with decades of experience is hard to replace and most have not been returning to the workplace after leaving.
- Lowest birth rates in U.S. history: The national birth rate, already in decline, hit a 35-year low in 2019, and the relative size of the working-age population has been shrinking since 2008. While boomers were born into families with an average of four children each, boomers had an average of just 1.8 children. Thus, as they leave the workforce, there simply aren’t enough workers to replace them.
- Shortfall of 20-somethings: The Wall Street Journal reports a shortfall of about half a million workers in their early 20s compared to 2019 levels. While caretaking is reported as the main reason for this age group staying out of the job market, other reasons include choosing to further their education, workplace health concerns, and waiting for the right opportunity to come along in a tight market. This group represents the future of the labor force and presents even more significant challenges to recruiting efforts.
Creative hiring/recruiting: Besides raising wages and offering signing/retention bonuses, employers have been offering perks such as flexible work schedules, 4-day work weeks, full or part-time work from home, childcare and other benefits. Overtime can be positive or negative – some workers want all they can get while others resent having to work extra shifts due to staff shortages/burnout. Employers also are turning to less experienced workers, people with minor criminal backgrounds, and foreign workers to help fill staffing gaps. Businesses with lengthy screening/hiring processes will continue to miss out.
Flexible work environment: A popular strategy is the flexible work environment, in which in-person, hybrid, and remote work combine to meet business needs. Surveys have found that employees like the idea of eliminating or reducing commuting costs along with lower spending on meals, entertainment, personal services and shopping.
Growth in AI/automation: With employers being forced to operate with fewer workers in many industry sectors, the use of artificial intelligence/automation will continue to increase. Demand for collaborative robots or “cobots” is an example of this. Cobots are used for tasks such as assembly, dispensing, inspecting, welding, moving parts/products in factories/warehouses, and more. Online commerce is increasing along with more self-serve activities such as the use of kiosks for ordering food, hotel check-in, etc. eliminating several routine jobs.
Looking for a New Career? Looking to Hire? Here’s Help!
CareerSource offers virtual and in-person job fairs, classes and facilities for job searches, grants for job skills training for those who qualify, career development and consulting – at no cost! During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted nearly 45,000 residents find employment/reemployment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $700 million in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $14.7 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time. More information is at www.careersourcepbc.com.
CareerSource also provides services to help businesses prosper in today’s challenging marketplace. CareerSource absorbs the cost of most of these services including recruitment, assessments, and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; and grants for training employees.
Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for December and year-end 2022 are scheduled for release on Jan. 20, 2023.
Note to editors: You are invited to interview a CareerSource spokesperson on local employment and economic trends. Please call 561.340.1061 ext. 2229 for scheduling before 3 p.m. today.
Note: The unemployment rate is a measure of how many people in the labor force are out of a job. For example, if total employment holds constant and unemployed Americans stop looking for work, thereby leaving the labor force, the unemployment rate will fall even though no jobs have been added. Conversely, if employment holds steady and recent graduates enter the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate will rise even though no jobs have disappeared.
IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE STEVENS AMENDMENT:
CareerSource Palm Beach County, Inc. is the direct service provider for various workforce programs supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies as part of awards totaling $15,851,406 (revised annually). Unless otherwise stipulated, all statements, news releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other applicable documents are fully funded from federal sources.